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March 6, 2019, 5:48 a.m. EST

Europe markets mixed as banks and autos feel the heat

By Emily Horton

Europe’s markets were mixed on Wednesday, with banking and autos sectors under pressure and investors waiting for further details on a potential U.S./ China trade deal.

How are markets performing?

The Stoxx Europe 600 (STOXX:XX:SXXP) was flat on at 375.69, after finishing up 0.15% on Tuesday.

The German DAX (NAS:DAX) and France’s CAC 40 (PAR:FR:PX1) both fell by 0.1%, dropping to 11,606.12 and 5,294.02, respectively.

But the FTSE 100 (FTSE:UK:UKX) rose by 0.1% to 7,190.46, Italy’s FTSE MIB index (BORSA:IT:I945) was up by 0.2% to 20,752.10 and Spain’s IBEX 35 (1058:XX:IBEX)  lifted 0.1% to 9,268.30.

The pound (XTUP:GBPUSD) fell to $1.3147 from $1.3177 late in New York on Tuesday. While the euro (XTUP:EURUSD) remained mostly flat fetching $1.1307.

What’s driving the markets?

The auto sector was under the investor microscope on after German auto parts maker Schaeffler AG (FRA:DE:SHA)  adjusted targets for 2020.

Meanwhile, banks came under heavy pressure after Tuesday’s reports that billions of Russian funds have allegedly been channeled via Lithuanian financial institutions to banks that include those in the Netherlands. Shares of Dutch lenders ABN AMRO (AMS:NL:ABN)  and ING (AMS:NL:INGA) , among others, fell.

Elsewhere, investors are anticipating further trade deal developments after Monday’s media flurry that an agreement between U.S. and China will soon be reached.

What stocks are active?

Legal & General Group PLC (LON:UK:LGEN)   lost 4%, despite announcing a profit rise in 2018. “Shares have slid back from three year highs in early trading, no doubt due to some profit-taking, after a 24% rise from the lows we saw in December,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., in a note.

Another of Europe’s biggest losers was the online food-deliver company Just Eat PLC,  which fell by 4% amid increasing delivery costs outlined in the group’s earnings.

“Just Eat are trying to work with the same sort of branded restaurants their rivals are targeting, and offering their own delivery offering. None of this comes cheaply, and the costs are holding profits back,” said Steve Clayton, manager of the Hargreaves Lansdown’s select funds.

British American Tobacco PLC (LON:UK:BATS)  added 4%, reclaiming some of its loses after Monday’s dip, while in Tullow Oil PLC (LON:UK:TLW)   rose 3%.

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